Should You Be Using Service Level Management Tools?

A couple of years ago, my then-colleague Patrick Connaughton wrote a market overview about service-level management tools, which included a discussion of specific toolsets intended to help customers manage both internal and external services-based relationships. Among the technologies in this space include Digital Fuel, Oblicore, Compuware’s APM, Enlighta, Appirio, and others. Such service-level management tools, as we described them then, reflects one key aspect of toolsets like Digital Fuel and Oblicore, to monitor service levels for both internal and outsourced delivery. But the technologies also have other capabilities, including the ability to create catalogs and manage financial implications of services consumption, both internal and external.

Since that time, challenges in service consumption, including measuring and managing services relationships, have only gotten harder, complicated by the widespread trend toward multisourcing and multi-supplier relationships and new categories of cloud-based services like IaaS on the other. Given these challenges, tools like those described above would seem to have some possible value. Big industry suppliers sure seem to think so: Since we wrote our last report, NewScale has been snapped up by Cisco and Digital Fuel was bought out by VMware, with the goal in part to help customers of virtual solutions and cloud services meter their usage and help charge back for consumption. In addition, KPMG acquired Equaterra, meaning that KPMG also took ownership of Equaterra’s EquaSiis, an outsourcing governance suite developed in conjunction with Microsoft. Oblicore was acquired by Computer Associates just months prior to our report. The acquisitions have in some cases meant a change in focus for the technologies acquired, to fit more cleanly to the broader product and services agenda of the acquirer.

While clearly of interest to suppliers, what about their value to enterprise customers? We will be updating this research shortly and we would like to know how your experience has been. Do these tools add value in helping you manage your services relationships? Let us know.


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Thanks for the post, I've

Thanks for the post, I've been following this to see if you have any updates on this research as mentioned at the end of the post.

Keenly interested

Cant wait for this new research to come out. I just looked at the research your colleague did in 2010 and I came to the same conclusion that big vendors have been snapping up niche SLM players at a rapid pace. When will the new report be out?

SLM tools help to manage the data

IT tools never substitute for clearly defined processes. Having said that, once your process is in place, a good tool will help to automate the process and allow you to manage the volume of data. Here at Sun Life, we're using the Service-Now tool to track availability targets and performance for over 160 business applications. We use our incident and configuration data to track downtime for our services against availability targets.

This gives us the facts in order to have good conversations with our business clients about our service levels.
Without a tool, tracking availability for 160 services would not be practical.

Did Updated Report Release?

Did the updated Forrester research referenced in this blog post every come out? I do not see a specific Forrester report using "Service Level Management" in it's title, and wonder if it goes under another title. Thanks.